Liverpool have reportedly reached a surprise deal to recruit Wataru Endo from Stuttgart.
Since Fabinho joined the Liverpool midfield exodus in a £40 million move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad, the Reds have been working tirelessly to locate a new number six.
The Anfield board wanted both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia, and the Reds signed a £110 million agreement for the former before Chelsea stepped in with a successful £115 million offer.
Liverpool then switched their attention to Southampton’s £50 million-rated adolescent Lavia, and the Saints reluctantly agreed a sum, but Chelsea proved to be a thorn in their side once more.
Lavia is said to have picked the Blues over Jurgen Klopp’s side, who have rushed to put together a list of alternative possibilities for the Stamford Bridge-bound duo in the last few days.
Cheick Doucoure of Crystal Palace and Joao Palhinha of Fulham have been linked with moves to Anfield, but Liverpool will instead sign Endo, according to Fabrizio Romano.
The 30-year-old has less than a year left on his contract with the Bundesliga club, who have failed to hold him down to new terms and have granted him permission to travel to Merseyside.
Endo, who has already confirmed personal terms with the Reds and will have a medical on Thursday, is anticipated to cost approximately €18 million (£15.4 million).
Endo is said to have wished for a move to Liverpool as he prepares to depart Stuttgart after a five-year stint after joining from Belgian side Sint-Truiden in 2019.
The 1993-born midfielder, who is also Stuttgart’s captain, has 15 goals and 12 assists in 133 appearances for the club, primarily as a defensive midfielder.
Endo, who has also played as a centre-back throughout his career, scored six goals and assisted five others in 40 appearances for the club last season, and he scored in Stuttgart’s 4-0 DFB-Pokal first-round triumph over TSG Balingen last Saturday.
Endo, a 50-cap Japan international, has played in two World Cups and helped the Samurai Blue reach the quarterfinals of the Qatar event in 2022.
After Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister, the former Urawa Reds youngster will become Liverpool’s third signing of the summer and might make his debut against Bournemouth on Saturday.
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